What Are Your Rights? Celebrity Parents are Charged in College Bribery Scandal

Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Martin, Harding and Mazzotti.

Joe: In an era where college admissions have become increasingly competitive, academic fraud to assist towns at athletic recruit is not unheard of, but just recently, the sweeping widespread criminal investigation has led to more than 50 people being charged with fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, bribery, all to get their kids into the college they wanna get into. So here to help us examine this issue is supervising attorney Dan Dagostino, from the law firm of Martin Harding and Mazzotti. Hi Dan, thanks for being with us. So, we’re all hearing about this. It’s almost hard to believe, as you, you know… Can you sum this up even in legal terms?

Dan: You know, essentially, what we’re finding is these parents have been spending anywhere from several thousands dollars to, I’ve heard recently, $6 million to bribe athletic coaches, people in admissions to designate their children as athletic recruits, as opposed to academic recruits.

Joe: And how does that help? I mean, they’re photoshopping their kids’ faces on athletes bodies. It’s easier to get in as an athlete. Is that basically what it is?

Dan: You know Joe, it’s a complicated process as we see, but surely you’re given priority if you’re an athletic recruit. They look at you as being, you know, successful inside and outside the classroom, and you generate income for the college as an athlete.

Joe: Now, there’s so many legal ramifications here. What kind of charges are we talking about? And we just heard Gayle King interviewing an expert. I mean, could these people face prison time, these parents, these famous actresses?

Dan: Well, you know, from what I’ve been seeing is, there’s charges anywhere from bribery to racketeering to conspiracy, wire fraud. Rick Singer who is the head of this faces I think 65 years and millions of dollars in fines. The parents, probably lesser charges, and definitely potentially criminal…you know, being sent to jail for what they’ve done criminally.

Joe: They could spend time behind bars.

Dan: Absolutely.

Joe: Now, about 750 kids are affected by this, which means 750 maybe didn’t get into the college of their choice. So what are the ramifications going forward?

Dan: You know, I think the colleges, all the institutions are gonna have to take a look at the system they have, have a different system of checks and balances, you know, because the victims here are the kids who didn’t get in because they should have gotten in.

Joe: And you might even say some of the kids who did get in are victims too. If it weren’t…If they truly didn’t know what their parents were doing, they’re going colleges…

Dan: Correct.

Joe: …they shouldn’t be out in the first place.

Dan: And it puts them in a very difficult situation.

Joe: Right, so lots of victims in this case?

Dan; Absolutely.

Joe: Hopefully it will clean up the process, and I think we’re gonna hear a lot more about this.

Dan: I think it’ll come…It’ll be going for years to come, I’m sure.

Joe: All right, Dan D’agostino from Martin…

Dan; Thank you.

Joe: …Harding and Mazzotti, thanks for the insight as always. We’ll see you again soon.

Dan: See you soon. Thank you.

Joe: All right.